The pungent and pleasing flavor of anise or licorice found widely in Italian and Scandinavian cuisine usually comes from the seeds, leaves and bulbous stems of the fennel plant, an aromatic herb of the parsley family. The seeds of the common fennel are used in sweet pickles, cookies, apple pies and candy. The chopped feathery green leaves add color and flavor to sauces for fish, particularly herring, mackerel and salmon, and the leaves make an excellent addition to salads.
Fennel may be eaten raw, like celery. To serve it raw, trim the coarse outer leaves and cut the bulb into quarters, slices or julienne strips.
Fennel is also delicious cooked, and it may be substituted in any recipe for celery.